Mark Templeton and Citrix: The End of an Era at Citrix Synergy

For those who listened to the Citrix Synergy keynote on May 6, it was impossible not to hear the crackling in Mark Templeton’s voice at various times throughout the program. Mark normally is all smiles and excitement at Synergy with ample strength in his voice, but knowing that this will be his last Synergy event clearly had an impact.

Mark Templeton has taken Citrix from a “Who’s that?” company to a virtualization leader. Citrix was doing virtualization before virtualization was cool. MarkT’s career at Citrix spans nineteen years, of which he’s been president for sixteen. He took over the helm from well-loved Citrix co-founder Ed Iacobucci.

For all but a few Citrites (as internal Citrix employees refer to themselves), MarkT has been the only leader they’ve known. He’s led the company through good times and bad, and he pioneered the concept of being more than just the company that created WinFrame/MetaFrame. And he appeared to have tons of fun doing it.

MarkT had a vision for Citrix to be far more than a “one-trick pony,” and he saw it to fruition. Those who worked for or with Citrix in 2004 when the acquisition of Net6 took place found it difficult to grasp the first steps of the vision coming to reality, and the next ten years were full of myriad acquisitions and changes. Admittedly, some of the acquisitions and some parts of the vision weren’t one hundred percent successful, but without taking chances, success can never be achieved.

What does the future bring for Citrix as this leader steps down? Looking back to when Ed Iacobucci stepped down and MarkT took the helm, Citrix was a small company with only a few hundred people, and the organizational structure was very flat. But today, Citrix is a virtualization powerhouse. The impact of a new chief executive will affect not only Citrix employees but the industry overall.

Unfortunately, Citrix is significantly top heavier these days, and it’s already evident that political infighting is occurring. The executive leadership change will take its toll on employees and the forward motion of the company. It is hoped that the tumultuous transition phase will be brief and that the new Citrix that emerges will be even stronger.

Of course, there is widespread speculation as to who will step into the driver’s seat and guide the future vision. Will Citrix promote an internal executive, such as when MarkT was promoted from VP of marketing to president, or will it tap on an external industry leader? Will the new leader evaluate the company top to bottom and realign accordingly? Or will this interim phase make Citrix appealing as an acquisition by Cisco, Microsoft, or another company?

From the standpoint of Citrix employees and momentum, promoting an internal executive would ensure that zeal and passion for Citrix continues going forward. It’s evident that Citrix has brought in some executives who do well reading from teleprompters but don’t know, understand, or have a true affinity for the products. For its leader to effectively take control of the reins, Citrix needs a no-nonsense chief who will not accept “good enough” (remember StoreFront 1.x and even early 2.x releases?) when releasing new products.

With heavy hearts, we understand why MarkT is stepping down. If you look at pictures of MarkT when he took the role versus now, you can see that the position has aged him; he rightfully should take the time to enjoy his success and appreciate his family. The Citrix Technology Professionals (CTPs) inducted MarkT as an honorary member, so he won’t be straying far from Citrix technologies.

As a virtualization industry professional and former Citrite: Thank you, MarkT. Your contributions are permanently etched in the virtualization industry, and you will be sorely missed.

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